Published January 1, 2024
Fundraisers come in all different shapes and sizes, but events that incorporate educational aspects are ideal for school groups. A read-a-thon is a great way to encourage young people to read more books while raising money for your school or organization. Reading is a critical life skill, as well as a wonderful form of entertainment, so we must strive to give students the opportunity to advance their competency. Let’s explore how to host a successful read-a-thon fundraiser so that you can maximize the benefits of this type of event.
What Is a Read-a-thon?
Before you learn how to host a successful read-a-thon, you need to understand exactly what it is and how it works. A read-a-thon is a simple concept where kids raise money based on the number of pages or books they read. Individuals pledge a specific financial amount and donate the money once the student has surpassed their reading goal.
Before the read-a-thon begins, each young person decides how much they’ll read and the amount of money they’re hoping to raise. Throughout the event, participants track their progress and determine their final donation amount at the end. Your group or organization can make modifications based on your timeframe and resources, but the basic elements of the read-a-thon will remain the same.
Set Your Goal
The first step for any fundraiser is to establish a clear goal. If you don’t know what you’re working toward, you can’t sustain motivation. Your fundraising goal will depend on a few factors, including the reason for holding the event, how many children will participate, and an estimate of how much money you’ll raise.
Be sure to keep your fundraising goals reasonable to avoid disappointment down the line. Plus, you don’t want students to feel like they wasted their time, so manage your expectations appropriately. In general, aim for a goal slightly higher than you think is feasible, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with your results.
Establish Your Timeline
The next step in hosting a successful read-a-thon fundraiser is to establish your timeline for the event. A read-a-thon timeframe can be flexible, so you can easily find the perfect duration for your organization. In general, read-a-thons last anywhere from four to six weeks, but they can also span an entire school semester.
Keep in mind students can lose interest if you stretch the event too long. However, you don’t want it to be so short that participants don’t have time to realistically achieve their reading goals. At the end of the day, you want the opportunity to raise as much money as possible. Once you find a happy medium, you’ll be able to set the dates and start working on the subsequent details.
Set Up an Online Fundraising Campaign
An online fundraising campaign is a streamlined way for individuals to donate money and track their progress. Once your page is ready to go, all you need to do is share the link with others. Your campaign page should have a brief synopsis explaining your group or organization, as well as why you’re raising money and how you’ll use the funds.
Be sure to clearly indicate the dates of the read-a-thon so that people don’t miss the donation deadline. You can even include a goal thermometer to track your progress throughout the event. You’ll also want to highlight how much money you’ll donate per page or completed book, such as 10 dollars for every 100 pages. If you include all relevant information on your online fundraising page, it will be easy for participants to navigate.
Devise a Tracking System
Since the money you raise directly correlates to the amount a student reads, you’ll need a straightforward way for participants to track their progress. If you choose the digital route, each person can have their own fundraising page with a personalized tracking system. Individuals can also donate directly through the student’s customized page. By incorporating both elements in one location, you can maximize your read-a-thon’s impact.
If you’re not keen on a digital tracker, you can also hand out physical forms for students to keep tabs on their reading progress. If you’re working with younger children, their parents can help them accurately record their completed pages. At the end of the week, you can collect everyone’s form and determine the current leaders. If your students know where they stand, they may be more motivated to prioritize reading moving forward.
Promote the Read-a-thon
Your read-a-thon won’t be successful if you don’t use a variety of promotional efforts. The more people who pledge, the more money you’ll make, so spread the word. Enlist the help of parents to ask their family members, friends, and coworkers for donations. You can also encourage students to ask others for financial support throughout the event.
However, parents and students don’t have unlimited social circles, so you’ll also need to rely on other forms of marketing, such as email blasts, social media posts, community flyers, etc. Plus, if your school or community has a newsletter, be sure to post an article about your read-a-thon to raise awareness. By taking advantage of several promotional channels, you’ll be able to reach a larger pool of potential donors.
Celebrate Your Success
At the end of the read-a-thon, you can finally tally your results and celebrate everyone’s hard work. Whether you reach your goal or not, you should acknowledge your achievements and think about areas of improvement for the future. You can also analyze the results of each participant and award a prize to the student who read the most.
It’s nice to compile a summary of the event and post it on your online donation platform or in your school’s newsletter. Donors like to know how much money they raised and how their funds will directly impact your group. You can even include a photo of the top performers. Don’t forget to acknowledge the efforts of parents and other people who helped you plan, execute, or promote the read-a-thon. A successful fundraiser is certainly a group effort!
Are you interested in hosting your own read-a-thon? At Vertical Raise, our online donation platform helps you raise more money in less time. We can make your band fundraisers or any other group initiative a success. Through email, text messaging, and social media campaigns, we can increase the reach of your fundraiser and help you raise the most money possible. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you set up a campaign.